ACC takes ‘Meet The Schools’ Campaign to Daru town
As a means to continue the fight against corruption in schools, the Eastern Regional Office of the ACC has taken the meet the schools campaign against corruption in schools to Daru town Jawei Chiefdom in the Kailahun District. The campaign which is the first in the town was held at Wallace Methodist Secondary School and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary on Thursday 17th September, 2015 respectively.
Welcoming the ACC team to the schools Mr. Francis Buani who represented the principal of Wallace Methodist Secondary School and Mrs. Hawa Moiforay Principal of Ahmadiyya Junior Secondary School expressed delight that the ACC would come to educate them on the operations of the Commission and corruption issues. They said that corruption has destroyed the nation and is the cause of underdevelopment and poverty in the country and noted that it is a good thing that the Commission was coming to the schools to educate them on corruption and its effects on the education system and the nation. They advised pupils and teachers to listen to the discussions attentively.
Addressing pupils and staff of the, Mr. Felix L.T. Kabba ACC’s Head of Investigations in the Eastern Region spoke on the unlawful nature of illegal charges, he said the Commission has always frowned at school authorities and teachers imposing extra or illegal charges in schools. These charges he said put additional burden on parents especially in communities that have been hit by the ebola. He catalogued the practices that constitute corruption with emphasis on those that often take place in schools. He said that a violation of any of these offences attracts jail term or a fine on conviction. He warned against the collection of fees from pupils especially when government has taken up the responsibility of paying fees for every pupil for the next two academic years.
Mr. Kabba also spoke to them about the methods of making reports to the Commission and called on them not to hesitate to report to the commission matters that border on corrupt practices in school. He however warned them about false or malicious reports and the penalties they attract.
He also told them that they have the option of making anonymous report and there is provision in the act for the protection of witnesses who may face reprisals or revengeful attacks from authorities and implored pupils to study hard and not to make any offers to teachers by way of influencing them for grades and encouraged them to comport themselves.
The Regional Manager of the ACC East Peter Baio Kamara in his presentation gave the background, the Vision, mission and mandate of the ACC. He highlighted instances in the past where pupils benefited from scholarships and free medical treatment but because of corruption pupils no longer benefit from these opportunities. He said that in the past schools were supplied with enough teaching and learning material but this was not the case now all because of corruption. Peter Kamara explained the meaning of corruption to the pupils and explained that the ACC was targeting schools because it is through the schools knowledge; attitude and skills are transmitted to pupils. He said that integrity is one key value the ACC seeks to transmit into pupils because it forms the foundation for a corrupt free individual and the society as a whole. He defined integrity as honesty, uprightness, truth and the desire to always be transparent, accountable and open.
Public Education Officer Mr. Sam P. Gogra mentioned some malpractices going on in schools that portray corruption and lack of integrity. Acts such as, lateness, truancy, cheating/exams malpractices, shabby dressing, violence, illegal charges, dodging of classes by teachers, forcing pupils to buy pamphlets, sex for grades, extra classes at the expense of the normal classes to name a few. He said if pupils grow up with these vices they will surely do the same when they start work as public officers. He therefore encouraged pupils to desist from such practices and imbibe the culture of integrity, which will make them good citizens in society. Mr. Gogra said that the ACC uses education, prevention, confrontation in addressing corruption. The Public Education department he went on carries out public education activities in institutions and communities on the bad effects of corruption and the good things a corrupt free country stands to gain. He said the prevention department looks into existing systems, practices and procedures in government ministries departments and agencies, identifies corruption prone areas and makes recommendations on best practice. He gave examples of the several engagements the Commission has had with Communities and institutions both in terms of prevention and education which he said has gone a long way to addressing corruption in this part of the country as people are now reporting corruption to the office in Kenema.
One of the teachers, dilated on the various challenges unapproved teachers are confronted with in the discharge of their duties and made a passionate plea to the ACC to help bring to the attention of government the plight of these teachers.
Questions and concerns were responded to by the ACC officers.
By the Public Education unit – Kenema
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